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A Cox’s Creek man was arrested for first-degree arson and is suspected of vandalizing two gas station bathrooms in southern Nelson County Saturday evening.
Frederick Allen Sanger, 26, was also charged with possession of synthetic cannabinoid agonists or piperazines — synthetic marijuana — when he was booked at the Nelson County Jail at 10:39 p.m.
New Haven Police Officer K.C. Holbert was dispatched to a reported arson at 150 N. Main St. in New Haven — the Five Star gas station — at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.
Sanger had already allegedly left the scene by the time Holbert arrived.
“He set fire to the men’s bathroom … to the toilet paper holder mounted on the wall. It had two, three rolls of toilet paper in it. He set it on fire,” Holbert alleged.
One of the employees had used a fire extinguisher to put out most of the fire, which was still smoldering when Holbert arrived.
“I just opened the case up, pulled the rolls out and poured water on them,” he said.
But that wasn’t the first incident of vandalism in which Sanger was allegedly involved Saturday night.
“He also had apparently done some damage in Culvertown, at Culver’s Store, just prior to that,” Holbert said.
Culver’s Country Kwik Mart co-owner Louis Culver said his employees noticed the bathroom was flooding when water began to run into the store’s office.
“According to one of my employees this guy came in, but I guess they didn’t realize until later on after he’d left that he went to the bathroom back there and I guess stuffed some towels or something down in the washbasin and locked the door behind him and left,” Culver said.
There was no serious damage to the bathroom or store, he said.
One of Culver’s employees called another employee who happened to be in New Haven, and who saw the Black Chevrolet pickup in which Sanger was a passenger pull into the Five Star, according to Culver.
Holbert said that employee may have followed the truck to New Haven, but Culver said the employee wasn’t working at his store at the time of the incident.
The employee entered the Five Star bathroom after Sanger allegedly left and alerted employees to the fire, according to Holbert.
He was also able to provide Holbert with a license plate number.
“The kid gave me a perfect description of him — what he was wearing and everything,” Holbert said.
An hour later, Holbert arrested Sanger based on the descriptions and video from Five Star. Sanger denied any involvement, Holbert said.
At this time, Holbert believes the driver of the truck was unaware of what was going on. The driver reportedly went to Five Star for a “legitimate reason,” while Sanger didn’t buy anything but allegedly spent about four minutes in the bathroom.
Sanger allegedly had synthetic marijuana in his possession when he was arrested.
ERIN L. MCCOY can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.